Happy Monday, Camden Chatters. We made it! This is the week that spring training officially begins, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report tomorrow. Since the dawn of the Twitter age, one of the fun traditions of the start of spring training are (often bad) cell phone pics of players playing catch and stretching, posted by the beat reporters. It’s one of the first true signs that baseball is on its way back.
Unfortunately this year, there will be no cell phone pics. Due to the COVID-19 protocols put into place, media will not be allowed inside Ed Smith Stadium during workouts. Media won’t be permitted many places in the ballpark this year, at least to start. I am hoping we’ll see some pictures from the team photographers, but even if we do it just won’t be the same.
It has been announced that, unlike last year’s regular season games, fans will be allowed into Ed Smith Stadium for spring training games, which begin on February 28th. The stadium will be held to 25% capacity, which is 1,833 tickets, and each group of ticket holders put into their own pod and seated at least six feet away from other groups.
Is this what Camden Yards will look like when they host the home opener on April 8th? The capacity of Camden Yards is 45,971. If they stick to 25% capacity, that is a total of 11,492. That would be a tiny crowd for Opening Day, but otherwise wouldn’t affect the Orioles much for April at least.
In 2019, the Orioles started their home season with a weekend series against the Yankees that drew big numbers. But in the remaining 10 home games that month, eight of them fell short of the 25% mark. The other two games were part of a Saturday single-admission doubleheader that had just over 28,000 fans.
Is it smart to have fans in the stands in 2021? I don’t know. It makes me nervous. But more people are being vaccinated every day and the case numbers have been falling since the holiday surge. I don’t know if I’ll turn out to a game in April, but I am looking forward to attending at some point this year.
Breaking down the Orioles’ volume approach to starting pitching after the Matt Harvey signing | ANALYSIS - Baltimore Sun
Jon Meoli breaks down some of the whys behind the Orioles approach to bringing so many different kinds of pitchers to the starting rotation race.
Will spring training games now hold more importance? - Steve Melewski
Melewski wonders if the fact that the minor leaguers missing out last year plus a 60-game MLB season plus some players who opted out means that spring training performances will have more meaning than usual. I would have said no, but Mike Elias says probably. So there you go.
Which O's prospects will get the call in '21? - MLB.com
It's the Joe Trezza mail bag! As for the question in the headline of this story, Trezza names more than a handful of guys who could debut. I'd like to see Alexander Wells!
Birthdays and History
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies. Brian Williams (52) appeared in 13 games for the 1997 division champion Orioles as part of a nine-season big league career.
Luis Mercedes played outfield part time for the Orioles from 1991-93. Tween Stacey got his autograph at a baseball card show and therefore thought he was sure to become a big star. He was not. Sadly, Luis Mercedes passed away from complications from diabetes in 2019 at the age of 51.
And finally today is the 83rd birthday of former Oriole Chuck Estrada. Estrada pitched for the Orioles from 1960-1964. His rookie year of 1960 was the best season of his career. He racked up a league-leading 18 wins that year and made the All Star team. Altogether he appeared in 128 games (102 starts) with a 3.86 ERA for the Orioles in his five years with the team.
On this day in 2012, MLB announced that it was voiding the contract between the Orioles and Korean player Seong-Min Kim after the Korean Baseball Association protested the Orioles breaking their protocols. They signed Kim without consulting the proper authorities in Korean baseball. It was a bad look.
In 2018, the Orioles signed Andrew Cashner to a two-year contract.